Trump also said that his administration was fighting the anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, and that he hoped that his son-in-law Jared Kushner and the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, would have made progress on a peace agreement with the Palestinian leadership by the end of the next Jewish year.
While numerous Jewish leaders felt obliged to take a stand against the president, others have insisted on the need to engage with the man who holds the nation's highest position of power.
That left mostly Orthodox rabbis calling in.
Included in the call were leaders from the Orthodox Union, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Zionist Organization of America. On Friday, Trump spoke to the leaders for less than 10 minutes, with no question-and-answer period, according to three leaders who participated in the call.
US President Donald Trump's Friday phone call with a group of mainly Orthodox rabbis to mark the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashanah, was decent, honorable, respectful and brief, according to sources with knowledge of the call. "By telling your stories, you help us to confront evil in our world and we are forever grateful, " he told them.
The president also said America would "always" support the state of Israel- "not just because of security, but because of shared values". His love and respect for the Jewish people extends way beyond his family, and into the heart of Jewish American communities.
"It's significant and meaningful when the president of the United States acknowledges the upcoming High Holy Days and conveys a sense of appreciation and support for the Jewish community", said Nathan Diament, who heads the OU Advocacy Center. "He said, 'I love Israel.' He used that phrase: 'I love Israel.' And he also said, "I will always protect Jewish communities'".
However, members of the other three main branches of American Judaism have markedly different views ― 73 percent of Conservative, 88 percent of Reform, and 92 percent of Reconstructionist Jews surveyed viewed Trump's performance unfavorably. A few days after his inauguration, he issued a statement about Holocaust Remembrance Day that failed to specifically mention Jewish victims.
"I criticize the president for that, " he said.
The call came one day after Trump doubled down on remarks he made condemning both sides during racially charged clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month.
"We are disappointed that the president continues to draw a false equivalency between white supremacists and counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville", he said.
Participants were asked not to discuss the president's words with the media, but a transcript released by the White House shows that Trump briefly addressed the concerns of the American Jewish community of an uptick in violence and anti-Semitism.
"My philosophy is if we want the United States of America to be a strong country and to have dialogue and freedom, we can't eternally be mad at each other", Hier said. "That's not something we should take for granted. In my opinion, the president misspoke [about Charlottesville]". You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also and essentially that's what I said.